Cat Health Update

April 21, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Life 

The cats went to the vet for their annual visit yesterday.

Albert lost a pound, and is otherwise healthy.

Isaac found the missing pound, but is still not too heavy.  He is also apparently suffering from some arthritis.  We’ve been treating that by giving both of them Cosequin with their food.  Now we’re going to try a very low dose of anti-inflammatory for Isaac to see if it helps with his stiffness.  He still runs around like a maniac, but I can see him clearly thinking about whether or not to jump up on to my lap, the bed, etc.

Both had urine and blood drawn and we’ll hear in a few days about that.  Not expecting anything, but both have occasionally shown kidney numbers that are slightly elevated at times.

Rabies shots for all, which has made them sleepy (not that we can tell).

Prayer Requests

January 26, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Life, Religion 

I’ve got a few prayer requests.

  1. For the van der Wal family, on the death of Gooitzen’s father (who is also Elsa’s grandfather)
  2. For my church, facing budget difficulties in this economy (mainly caused by individual difficulties)
  3. For reconciliation and the ability to debate without insult – the church at large (national mostly) is failing at this.
  4. For everybody who has the flu – either the head or stomach variety.  It’s a nasty year.

Amen.

2008: My personal year in review

December 31, 2008 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Admin, Job Search, Life, Religion, Work, Young Adult, Youth 

Good riddance.

It’s not that the year was all bad.  Some of it was really very good.  It’s just that the bad outweighed the good.  Most of this was due to one very bad thing.

Work
This was a particularly bad year.  I’m not going to go into details, but you should assume that life at my former employer wasn’t particularly fun before August.  In August, I was laid off from a job that I’d held for 13 1/2 of the last 15 years.  It only helps slightly that this employer ultimately filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November.

And if that wasn’t enough – the economy tanked at the same time.  The cause of the company’s failure wasn’t solely the economy, but it was a big part of it.  Jobs just plain dried up from September through early December.  There are signs that things are easing now.

If it weren’t for positive things and positive people in the rest of my life, I don’t know how I would have handled this.

Church
The good:
I LOVE my youth group.  The young men and women that I work with more or less every week are all wonderful, and I learned a lot about myself, them, life and God over the last year.  Sunday afternoon/evening is the high point of my week.

The summer trip to the Montreat Youth Conference was one of the top 10 experiences of my life.  I truly feel that God spoke to me that week in some fashion.  I know that my faith deepened, and that the same happened to most if not all of the group from our church that went on the trip.  I also feel that I grew outside of the religious aspects.  (Of course, this high leaves me wondering where God is in my life now, when things are not so good.)  The biggest thing that I learned this year – while I care a lot about our youth, they care about me too.

Putting together the Moderator Meet and Greet event in April was a lot of fun as well as being a lot of work.  I met a lot of new and wonderful people.  The event was well attended, and I hear that it helped commissioners make a decision at General Assembly.

Meeting in person and working online with other church leaders has been mostly positive.  I’m amazed at how strong the online Presbyterian-and-beyond religious community is.  I’ve felt support when I needed it and given and watched it flow the other way when others needed it.

Serving as a deacon has been rewarding.  This is work that I know that I can do and do well, and that is relatively easy, and that aids the church.  That’s sort of the point, isn’t it?  I just have to be careful not to schedule myself too heavily (like the Sunday that I had coffee service AND served communion AND agreed to set up tables for a later event).

My committee studying hospitality, visitor and community issues for the church has nearly completed its work.  We have identified 19 issues and more than 19 suggestions for how to change/fix/handle those issues.  We present to the Session in February.  The team has worked hard and learned a lot.

Serving as the new webmaster for the church’s website and weekly e-mailed newsletter has been a growth experience for me.  It has forced me to learn new technical skills and also to generate a little content independently.

The bad:
The worst has to have been the controversy over my blog in March/April/May/June of this year.  I don’t know if people realize it, but the church was about 12 hours from losing me in April – the only things keeping me were the facts that Youth Sunday and the Moderator Meet and Greet were imminent responsibilities of mine.  This event only took 2nd to the loss of my job in how poorly I felt while in the middle of it.

I am also continually dismayed by the negative tones in some conversations/fights/battle-royales in the church community over the hot button issues of today.  Those of us within the church fight harder and with less love than we do with our colleagues in other denominations or religions, even though the points of disagreement are far smaller and unimportant.

Home
Home life continues to be solid.  Carolyn and I have ridden out the very rough patches of the 2nd half of the year with no negative effect on our relationship.  Most of this is due to Carolyn’s very conservative nature when it comes to money, and the strong planning ability that both of us have.  She continues to be supportive at a very difficult time in my life and it has brought us if anything closer together.

The cats are still fine.  They turn 13 tomorrow.  Isaac is still suffering from a bit of arthritis in his hips, but the daily Cosequin is helping.  Both of them still have a fair amount of kitten left and still go running around like crazy animals occasionally.  Albert has had no recurrence of his kidney issues.

The house is fine.  We have had to put off a bit of home repair work (mainly fixing the fireplace chimney that failed a while back) for economic reasons.  Nothing important is wrong, and we continue to love living here.  It’s a great neighborhood – not too noisy, not too quiet, and plenty of kids running around.
My car has had a rough year.  I was rear-ended in July and minor damage was done to my rear bumper.  It was fixed pretty quickly, but it took about 4-5 months before the insurance companies paid my deductible.  Here’s a tip – no matter how late you are, don’t pass on the right on a one-lane on-ramp.

Health

No major changes.  On the Montreat trip I lost a number of pounds due to the stairmaster-like qualities of the village of Montreat (to get anywhere you have to walk down a big hill and up a big hill).  The emotional strain of being out of work took off some more.  I’ve managed to end the year a net 10 pounds down.  Otherwise, my health remains the same.

I’m hoping that 2009 will be a combination of the continuance of good things, and an end to the bad things that are happening now.  I see new hope in the elections of both our PC(USA) Moderator and the new President of the USA.  It remains to be seen if that hope turns into a better reality for the country, church, and me.

Happy New Year!

Cat Health Update

May 8, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Life 

Three weeks ago, we took the cats in for their annual checkup.  We were a little worried about a lump on Isaac’s front leg, which was biopsied.

The results are now all in.

Albert is fine.  He went into the vet today for a dental cleaning for gingivitis.  (Isaac didn’t need it this time.)  His blood work came back fine.

Isaac is also fine.  The lump on his front leg matched the one on his back leg – fatty tissue and nothing to be concerned about.  We are a bit concerned about his blood work.  His thyroid number was slightly elevated for an older cat.  We’re going to take him back for more blood work in 3-6 months.  We’ll have his teeth checked again at the same time.

We should have Albert at home this evening.  I hope he’ll just be drowsy rather than psychotic like Isaac was the last time they had their teeth cleaned.

We love our cats.

Animal Health Report

April 17, 2008 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Life 

Last night Albert and Isaac (12-year-old cats) went to the vet for their annual checkup.

Isaac lost 1/3 of a pound.  He is generally healthy, and the vet considers his weight to be pretty good.  Last fall we found a lump on his back leg that the vet tested at that time and determined to be a fatty tumor and not worth worrying about unless it gets bigger.  This time we had him check a lump on his front leg.  It was biopsied and we should get the results either today or around the 28th (the vet is going on vacation).

Albert found the 1/3 pound that Isaac lost.  He is also generally healthy, and the vet considers his weight to be about right.  The cats now weigh exactly the same; at one point Isaac weighed 3 pounds more than Albert.  Albert has some gingivitis.

The dentist has suggested another tooth cleaning for both cats.  This is a procedure that requires heavy sedation.  The last time, Albert’s blood work showed possible kidney problems (that cleared up on their own) so he got gas while Isaac got an injected drug.  Albert came home annoyed but completely normal.  Isaac was a psychotic kitty for 24 hours;  he’d hiss at us and Albert for no apparent reason and then purr 10 seconds later.  We had to keep Isaac in bed with us – a rather sleepless night.  The doctor promises that this time he’ll use a different drug that should provoke fewer reactions.

We’ll hear about the blood work and biopsy the week of the 28th.  The blood test results are only good for 2.5 weeks for surgery (the dental work), so we’ll have to make a quick decision.  We’re also waiting to hear about Isaac’s lump.

Blood Pressure OK

May 1, 2007 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Life 

I headed back to the doctor today, because I thought my blood pressure was still high.

The nurse took it – 118/80

The doctor took it – 114/78

I guess the new dosage really is working.

Also good news – my cholesterol is 198 – high end of normal but acceptable.  It was a little higher last year.  HDL, LDL, Triglycerides were all normal.

Blood Pressure

April 6, 2007 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Life 

Well, the doctor upped my blood pressure meds today.

My weight is about where it was last year, and I’m exercising about as often.  I’m a little older.  My stress level has increased dramatically – from the stress of joining a church and getting involved in committees (particularly the latter) to the stress of layoffs and reorganizations at work.

I think I exceeded my capacity for dealing with change this week.

Happy Easter!

NOT to committee, at least not this one

April 3, 2007 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Life, Religion 

I got a call last night on the answering machine from a member of the Stewardship committee.  This was my “contact later” mentioned in the letter from the pastor.  (I blogged this previously here).

I called her back today.

I started off by mentioning the fact that my pastor had sent me a separate e-mail talking about another initiative that he’d like to speak to me about.  That initiative – which deals with visitors, seekers, and the perception of the church in the community – is a much better fit for me.  It falls right in line with my personal experience, my retreat experience, and some of the things that I’ve written for this blog (which is apparently what brought me to his attention in the first place).  He also specifically mentioned that I should choose either this new initiative or the stewardship committee, but not both – in order to avoid “new member overinvolvement” syndrome.

Then I mentioned my concerns about last year’s stewardship campaign (detailed in my blog post referenced above).  I also listed the good that I took from last fall’s campaign and how I increased my pledge 25% above my original plan based on one speaker’s message about taking risks knowing that God will provide.

She explained that they plan to use Herb Miller’s Consecration Sunday program for next year’s campaign, and that they are trying to get the focus from keeping the church heated to giving what you are called to give.  I agree that this is the correct tack to take when it comes to stewardship.  However, I’m not sure that I’m a good fit.  The last thing that I want is to be the lone voice of dissent no matter how valuable that might be to the committee.  Remember – I’ve only been a member for 6 months.

I’d also like to see some concentration on the gift of time and talents rather than just money.  Based on my committee work here thus far, it seems that the congregation suffers from the usual church disease – a small number of people do a lot of the work.

I really believe that the other “visitor/seeker” initiative is a better fit for me because:

  • It’s something that I’m really passionate about
  • Working on it doesn’t necessarily require knowing lots of other members
  • It’s more focused on giving to individuals rather than taking/accepting from them (I put my youth group work in this category too)

I think the way that we left it is that I’m not interested in the Stewardship committee.  I’m hoping that my feedback will be well received (it was clearly heard and understood).

As for the other initiative – Tuesday will tell (next Tuesday, that is).

While I was dreading this phone call, I think it went well.

——————————–

In other news, my blood pressure is acting up.  I got refused by the blood center for a platelet donation last night because my BP was too high.  They tend to get a higher reading than the doctor every time (probably because I go to them straight from work and straight from the highway), but I checked at home this time and it really was that high.  I have a physical scheduled for later this week anyway.  I’ve been on medication for high BP for over 10 years, but maybe my body has adjusted and they need to up the dosage.  We’ll see.  Mom’s BP has been all over the place (from normal to very high) for years, so I guess I inherited a problem.